Poor communication dooms William Byron at Dover

DOVER, DELAWARE - MAY 01: William Byron, driver of the #24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Würth 400 at Dover International Speedway on May 01, 2023 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

It didn’t take long for William Byron to make a strong statement Monday at Dover Motor Speedway. Polesitter Kyle Busch, who was awarded the top starting spot after qualifying was rained out Saturday, led the first 22 laps of Monday’s reschedule Cup race.

Byron, a two-time winner this season, started eighth and came out third after pit stops for a competition caution on lap 22. Thanks to a speeding penalty on pit road by leader Busch, Byron restarted in second and had the lead for the first time in the race by the end of the first green flag lap,27.

From there Byron seemed to be the class of the field winning Stage 1 that ended on lap 120. Byron would go on to lead a race high 193 of the 400 laps run and was second in Stage 2 that ended on lap 250.

But in the latter stage he would fade and struggle late in the going. Even he wasn’t sure what happened.

“The middle section – I don’t know, I need to maybe do a little better job on the feedback, and then just us communicating the adjustments there,” he said. “We took off, had clean air and the car was just too loose. I couldn’t load the rear tires and we were just hanging on. That run was obviously really bad – we fell from first to seventh. We just had to work our way up from there.”

He finished fourth his third top five finish, all of those ironically fourth in the last four race, a good finish but far short of what many thought he would have earlier in the day.

“Proud of the effort,” he said. “Getting a top-five is great. The No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevy was really good today. Definitely needed some more, but we’re having speed at all different kinds of tracks. In our history, this hasn’t been our best track. We came with something a little bit different to try and help that. I think it did for the majority of the race, but just got too loose.”

Greg Engle